The Brooklyn Nets did not look like a 1-2 team tonight. The Nets destroyed the Utah Jazz, 104-88 Tuesday night to improve to 2-0 at home this year. Brook Lopez had a fantastic game for the Nets, finishing with 27 points and 7 rebounds in only 25 minutes. 5 other Nets also finished in double figures. Gordon Hayward scored 22 while Enes Kanter contributed 21 points for Utah.
The Nets got off to a great start in this game and never looked back. They jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter thanks to Paul Pierce and Brook Lopez. The defense was especially good in the first quarter. In the second and third quarters, the Nets built on their lead to over 20 points, which allowed the starters to get some much-needed rest in the fourth.
Jason Kidd and his staff will be focusing this year on finding ways to rest Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and the best way for this to happen is in blowout wins. Kidd is definitely rooting for more games like this where KG only had to play 14 minutes.
This was definitely the Nets’ best overall effort in the early season. They shot 51% from the field and 36% from 3 while limiting Utah to only 38% from the field and 22% from 3. This was an excellent game on both offense and defense for Brooklyn.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: B-
Garnett has yet to really show what he can do offensively this year, and only finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds tonight. However, he only played 14 minutes, less than half what he was playing in Boston last season. Of course, the reason for that is the blowout win. KG did not record a field goal in the first half.
Paul Pierce: A-
Pierce has been the most consistent Net in the first 4 games of the season and finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 23 minutes. He scored the first points of the game, a wide open 3, and the Nets never trailed after that. Pierce seems to score when the Nets need him to and he backs off when the team is playing well with him in a facilitator role. Pierce had some fantastic passes to Brook Lopez tonight.
Brook Lopez: A-
Lopez couldn’t have had a better offensive game, shooting 10-13 from the field and 7-9 from the foul line. He dominated Enes Kanter inside and no Utah player had an answer for him. My only complaint is his defensive rebounding. Lopez gave up a few too many offensive rebounds to Kanter, who was able to score some easy points from them. Still, Lopez was great tonight.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron still has yet to have a breakout game this year, although he did finally beat the team that drafted him for the first time. Deron has done a good job so far this year limiting his turnovers and not making risky plays on offense. He had a sequence in the third quarter tonight where he hit Andray Blatche with a laser pass for a layup and then on the next possession, hit an impressive arcing layup over a Utah center.
Joe Johnson: B+
Joe had a very quiet 12 points tonight, shooting 5-9 and 2-3 from 3. Johnson might have the easiest job in the NBA. He gets paid $21 million per year to get wide open shots and he was making them tonight.
Andray Blatche: B
Blatche continues to be the most interesting Net. He has some totally head-scratching plays and some unbelievable plays as well. That was the case tonight. He still takes too many mid-range jump shots when the Nets could get better shots with the talent they have on the floor. But he still finished with 10 points in 22 minutes.
Shaun Livingston: A-
Behind Pierce, Livingston has also been very consistent this year. Livingston has been the best backup point guard the Nets could ask for. Tonight, he finished in double-figures scoring and also had a couple of beautiful passes to open forwards. Shaun fits in perfectly with this team.
The Nets will get a couple of days off and then have a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, first at Washington and then back home against Indiana. It will be interesting to see how Jason Kidd limits the minutes of Garnett and Pierce in those games. FRWD will have full coverage of both.